The weird case of the semiotic grinder
If you are a half-respectable netizen, in the last few days you probably have already seen the quirky device pictured above which, according to the witty and salacious comments of so many bloggers, should be the Dildo makerinvented by Viennese designer Francesco Morackini. And if you are still asking yourself what is so interesting about it… the pictures below should clear it up.
There is just one problem: after a dozen days of searching, I can state with some authority that nor the hand-cranked item, neither its designer actually exist. Without going into too much detail about basic journalistic work, fact is that not only the contact email address listed on his website is inactive, but the site itself spells his name in two different ways (how can’t he possibly know his own name?). Also, the only traces of this character are limited to links to the three webpages on which the Dildo maker and a couple of other projects are presented – only as CGI, by the way.
So unless something really unexpected pops up, the whole story was just a nice trolling of our gullible Web. Or, to be kinder, a good example of meta-net.art.
If you still don’t believe me, ask any housewife whether she knows of a blade that can carve carrots, sausages, ice and dry wood equally well – and be prepared to be laughed at in your face.
We could end our story here, but I believe there are other sides of it worth thinking about. In example: what were the reasons for which the Dildo maker (and the ‘Prohibition kit’ seen on the same website) caught so much attention? If it was for morbid entertainment only, why not to go for the even weirder sex toys found online? And why nobody took the pain of fact-checking the news, or simply to think before forwarding it?
If I was a half-assed semiologist I’d venture a theory by which the key was joining the idea of transgression with apparently reassuring items, status symbols even – a bit as it happened a few years ago with Matteo Cibic’s bourgeois sex toys. Actual kinksters don’t need excuses: they actually enjoy sharing their pleasures and exploring the paths of unusual sex chasing with curiosity after new discoveries to debate with their friends.
Respectable people, instead… No, they don’t. Clinging like barnacles to their pointless and hypocritical “public face”, they are the first to finance the prostitution market in order never to share filthy desires with their legitimate partners, and the first to pay obscene prices for ghastly platinum vibrating “objects d’art” that allow them never to risk being seen entering a sex shop. And they do adore the concept of disposable dildos leaving no clues to any sexuality about them.
At the same time mass media – and online trend setters – rejoice before “dirty” news with a highbrow allure. After all, they are ideal to attract readers and make a show of being open minded, yet righteously sarcastic and above such deviances. But granting stories so vulgar the same attentions given to “serious” topics… well, that just won’t do. Why should they put an effort into double-checking information when they can much more easily move on to the next celebrity gossip? In the end, sex isn’t that important to them.
One day I’ll have to ask them why are they spending so much time on this website, though.